Chugging root beer lands thief in jail
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BRANDON — The decision to quench his thirst while stealing construction tools has landed a Brandon man in jail.
The only link the Crown had to tie Frank Dumas to the crime was an empty bottle of root beer with his DNA on it, which was found at the construction site.
Dumas received a four-month jail sentence and was ordered to make restitution after pleading guilty to theft over $5,000 on Tuesday.
Appearing from the Brandon Correctional Centre by video, the 35-year-old father of three told court he was remorseful, and wants to return to working in construction when he gets out of jail.
“I just gotta get my act together here,” Dumas said.
In September 2021, a construction crew returned to a job site on Third Street in Brandon, and noticed the door had been kicked in and tools, worth $7,500, had been stolen.
The crew told police there was an unfinished two-litre bottle of root beer on the floor when they left the job site for the day. In the morning, they noticed the bottle was empty.
Police obtained DNA from the lip of the bottle that led them to Dumas.
Dumas has convictions from multiple jurisdictions dating to 2006, though none relates to property crime.
Noting Dumas has done time for all of his convictions, Judge Patrick Sullivan said his case fits the expression of serving a life sentence on an “instalment plan,” when people spend a lifetime in jail while serving separate short sentences.
Dumas told the judge alcohol was to blame for many of his crimes and he plans to spend six months at the Aurora Recovery Centre, an addictions treatment facility in Gimli, once he is released from jail.
Dumas had a tough childhood, his lawyer said. Dumas was apprehended by child and family services in Grade 1 and spent time in foster homes where he was bullied and exposed to alcohol and drugs.
Since Dumas has been in jail for nearly six months, the four-month sentence will be drawn from the time he has already served and he will remain in jail while he finishes serving time for previous convictions. In addition to a one-year probation term, he will be required to pay $7,500 in restitution for the stolen tools.
“The most powerful thing you could do at this stage is now to re-invent yourself and avoid these problems you’ve been having,” the judge told Dumas.
— The Brandon Sun